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Sunday, March 30, 2008


Don't you love watching the neighborhood kids growing up? One day they're learning to ride a bike and the next they're driving the family car. Just the other day, Rick looked out the window and said, "Hey, we have a car crash out front." We both ran out to see if everyone was OK. They were, but the car wasn't, and neither was the tree it hit. Silly kid had come rippin' around the corner, lost control, spun out, and hit the tree. Poor guy, I bet he'll spend his summer vacation working to have it fixed. His mom came down the street screaming her head off. Something like, "Why? Why? Why?" I have a feeling he didn't have his license yet, and another feeling she didn't have insurance. Too bad. It was a nice car, probably worth more than her house. And apparently it had great sentimental value too, because her boss, a famous local artist, had left it to her in his will. These folks aren't close friends of ours, just neighbors we recognize from up the street. So while they continued the yelling, we ducked out of the situation and went back inside.

A while later they'd managed to move the car, but somehow forgot all the little car-bits that had fallen in our yard. I went out to clean up, and couldn't help but notice how pretty all that broken glass was, glittering under the Taos sun. So I picked it all up, brought it to the studio, and proceeded to melt it. The way I see it, fire is the ultimate purifier. So any bad juju in that glass was burned right out of it. I took part of an artist's car and turned it into art. Kind of a warm and friendly full-circle sort of thing. And then I was so excited about making beads out of garbage, I went through the recycle bin and started smashing up bottles with a hammer. I think I'm on a roll here. People are always asking me where my inspirations come from. I tell them, "everywhere", but I don't think they really believe me. Well, hey, you can believe it now folks. Even a car crash can inspire a nice bit of art.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

two things for you

I have a couple of things to share with you today. And they're not about me...

First, my friend Peri has a new eBay store, where she offers her beautiful jewelry (OK, sometimes with my beads), as well as clothing from designer Brooke Wilen, at insanely great prices. If that "gathered-side skirt" came in black, it would be mine! Check out Peri's store at Peri's Potpourri. Then visit Brooke's website at WilenLosAngeles for the retail prices on these beautiful designs. You'll see what great deals Peri is able to offer you!

And for a nice visual vacation, visit Rob Glen Photography in Scotland. Absolutely beautiful. Thanks Michelle, for sending me the link. These photos make my eyes happy...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

somethin' up my sleeve...

I've been dropping hints lately about a catalog of Troll-style Beads I'm working on for my website. It's a big project that will actually save me a lot of time once it's all finished. The plan is to have a nice group of Bracelet Beads that will be available all the time. I'll try to keep a few of each in stock, and make more as they're sold. I'll also have some one-of-a-kind beads, as well as the bigger focal beads that will also be one-and-only's. The beauty of the catalog is that I'll only need to photograph and describe these beads once. That will save me buckets of time from week to week, which pleases me quite a lot. And it should please some of you too, because it also means I can reduce the prices a bit. Always lookin' for that win/win situation!

So I'm spending most of my time right now making the inventory for the starter catalog. I'll add to it as I go along, but I want a nice bunch of beads to choose from when I launch it. I think I can have things ready to go by early next week, and if you're on my mailing list, of course I'll keep you posted! Till then, here's a picture of some of the beads I have so far. I have to say, it's a lot of fun to have this many beads at one time to play with. You'd think I'd get tired of looking at them, but I don't. I can sit here for the longest time, picking up bead after bead, and seeing things I never noticed before.

Now here's a question for you. It's your chance to have a say in things around here. Two or three of you have asked me to make beads that fit on Pandora bracelets. They have a larger hole than the Troll beads. I personally prefer the look of the Troll bracelets, and like the fact that Pandora and other bead brands will all fit on them. But maybe that's just me. Two or three of you aren't enough to get me to add the larger hole size to my line, but 20 or 30 of you might get me to consider it! So now's the time to speak up. You want Pandora-size beads? Then leave a comment here, so we all know how many of you want these!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

let's do lunch

Here I am! Since Rick started working at the nursery I've been even more busy than I was before. I'm starting to get the hang of the new schedule though. With luck I'll still find time to pop in here most mornings, after Rick heads out the door. I spend the first part of the morning shuffling into the kitchen about a half hour after he gets up. He needs his meditation time, and I need... sleep. So he makes me tea and toast, and a few minutes later, when I can be trusted with sharp objects, I make him a most amazing lunch. I think it's been proven somewhere that a sandwich tastes better if someone else makes it for you. And I just happen to be a Very Good Sandwich Maker.

Today he has ham and turkey and jarlsberg cheese with cranberries, lettuce, and wasabi mustard. He's gonna love it. And then there's the rest of it... grapes, apple, Fritos, cookies, almonds & chocolate, and granola bars, just in case he's hungry for a little snack. If I ate all that I'd be a big fat toad in about a week, but he's one of those Skinny People, and besides, they're mostly moving around trees in big pots this week. That's a workout I hope to never experience. I'm happy to be able to help keep him fueled up. I pack it all up in a cooler and send him off like a kid going to school. Bye Honey! Have a nice day!

And the best part is, he is having nice days. He really likes it there, and likes the people he works with. (If you're in the neighborhood, stop in and visit him at Petree's Nursery on Blueberry Hill) He's always loved plants, and has been frustrated by the growing conditions here in the high desert. I won't be a bit surprised if we wind up with a green house one day... Oooh! Fresh tomatoes and lettuce and herbs! I'll even help water!

I read someplace that if you want to change things, all you have to do is go outside and move a rock. It's true. When you change one thing, you change everything. No telling what will happen from here, but it sure does feel like all the doors and windows have been opened.

Friday, March 21, 2008

girls' day

Lauren's going back to school today, for her last few weeks before graduation. We took some time yesterday to get her a haircut and to go to lunch. It's not much, but it's the only time she really had free this whole week. And there's always something fun about some salon time, no matter who's in the chair. Our friend and neighbor, Kathleen Brennan, is more than just a terrific hair stylist. She's also a photographer, so it's a total experience to walk into her studio and see the new work hanging on the walls. You have to remember, I don't get out much. I'm so happy when I can get my hair cut and look at art too!

After Lauren was all beautified, we had some good Chinese food and just talked about nothing important. For me it's not the big parties that stand out as perfect memories, but these little times, just hanging out, that count the most. Pretty soon she'll be done with school and looking for a place of her own, rather than coming home. Of course she will. It's time for that. Still, I can't help but get a little misty, you know? More big changes. They just keep comin'...

And I want to wish a Super Happy Birthday to Susan!!! Cheers to you, my friend!!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Yesterday was the first beautiful, blue wind-free day all year. So instead of going to the Ski Valley (we don't ski anymore), we went to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge for a little hike along the rim, and a picnic under the big blue sky. Days like this are why we live here. They're the days that make me wonder why we're moving. But we haven't moved yet, and have no real idea when that will happen, so isn't it a good idea to enjoy every minute of it? I think we've both been on the launch pad for the last few weeks - not really being here, but wanting so hard to be there. So silly. What's the point? We might be here another year. We have no way of knowing. It's not really in our hands. Nothing is really, now is it?

Our picnic was sort of a celebration - of the beautiful day, the Equinox/Full Moon/Easter week, and of a big change in our little world... Rick got a job. It's no secret that the retail world is struggling. The economy sucks, or at least the government and media have us all scared into believing it does. I know that when I leave the TV off and just look around me, everything is fine. But the mirror of the economic fear that's spreading around the country shows up as record-breaking low bead sales for me.

It's discouraging, and also freeing. I don't need to work so hard, because nobody cares anyway. So there are picnic days, and longer mornings spent writing. The downside, of course, is there's not enough money. I've been the money-maker in the family for some years now, and it felt like a terrible failure to have to tell Rick he could no longer be my Lovely Assistant.

But there's always a bright side. He went right out and got a nice job at a local garden center. If he was home this time of year, he'd be playing with plants anyway. He loves to garden, so this way he'll get paid for it. Today is his first day. Very exciting. I sent him off with a nice, man-sized lunch, and I'll get to hear all about his Adventures in PlantLand this evening. My days will change now too. I have no real idea how just yet, but I know I'll be doing more cooking and laundry for myself. I'll have to go to the grocery store... ick!... and the post office, and might even talk to actual people sometimes. No telling where this could lead.

And beads? Yes, there will still be beads, and I still wish everyone would stop buying temporary comforts at big box stores, and save their extra pennies to buy actual art made by actual artists. China has enough of our money. But I can't change the world, now can I? All I can do is go outside now and then, look up at the sky, take a deep breath, and then go back to doing what I do, knowing that somehow, it's all going to work out fine.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

are you board?

After years and years of no way will it ever happen, Taos Ski Valley is opening the mountain to snowboards today. This is big news around here. And although I don't care a lot about this, I am interested in ch-ch-ch-changes I see all around me. Taos Ski Valley is just one example of changing minds in changing times. (Catchy. Yes, I came up with that all by myself.) Of course it makes good business sense to stop excluding the hoards of snowboarders who come to the area each winter. But I think it also makes good sense, in a broader way, to just stay flexible and open-minded. Never say never, and all that. I know it gives me a thing or two to think about. Maybe I'll talk about that later. For now, all you boarders out there, I hear the snow is bitchin'. Maybe Rick and I will head up there and check it out... or at least have some lunch.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

go outside

It's a beautiful, quiet morning here. No wind. No clouds. Even sort of warm.
After Lucy and Heidi did their usual go-outside-come-back-in-run-around-the-house this morning, Lucy decided she wanted to go out again. This is not normal, so I paid attention to what she was doing. From my spot at the kitchen table I watched her wander slowly around the yard, along the fence, and back again to her favorite sunny spot on the small step that's next to the hot tub. She sat there enjoying the sun long enough for me to think maybe she was on to something. So I got my tea and a book, went outside in my bathrobe, and sat on the edge of the step next to her. She was right. It was just the place to be.

We sat there together for a few minutes, listening to the neighbors go to work, the little birds having breakfast in the fir tree, and the ravens flying so low over our heads we could hear the whoosh of their wings. I assume she was listening too, and I even think she was reading over my shoulder. After a bit, she got up to check her fence lines again. But I stayed where I was, sunning myself like a dog with a good book.

This was the first morning of the year for Going Outside. To me, this is worthy of celebration. I might just take the whole day off and go outside some more.

Monday, March 17, 2008

it ain't easy being green

Happy St. Patrick's Day, and top o' the mornin' to ye, and all that. I've always sort of liked and not liked this particular holiday. I do have quite a bit of Irish ancestry, so I'm entitled to participate. I'm just not quite sure what to do with it.

As a kid, there was that terrible dilemma of finding something green to wear so as not to be pinched at school. As far as I know, I've never ever owned a green garment of any kind. And I never though to plan ahead, so I'd always end up with a green ribbon or a sticker or some lame thing like that. Later I started wearing turquoise jewelry and proclaiming it "green enough". By then, any of the mean boys who would pinch me knew I'd probably punch them in return, so green was green, just because I said so. A few years later, green beer seemed to be enough for most people. If it turns your tongue green, I guess that's as good as wearing it.

Then there's the food... Irish food is not my favorite, especially since I became a sort of vegetarian (actually, a pescatarian because I do eat fish sometimes). It all seems to be heavy on the meat, and the soggy wrung-out vegetables really don't make my heart sing either. Around here we have a heavily Hispanic culture, which means nobody knows or cares much about anything Irish. You want green? Try some green chile on your enchiladas. That's about all you're gonna find here. Rick and I were thinking about going out tonight, but there's not much going on except at Ogilvie's, and we've never had a good meal there, so forget that idea. I guess we'll stay home... sigh... At least we have some Green Tea Vodka in the freezer. Oh my.... yum. It beats a green beer any day!

And back to food, because along with beads and love, it's a very important of a balanced day. How about if I make that good Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli Thing? Want some? Here's how you make it: Cut some fresh broccoli into nice little bite-size trees, and steam them until they're bright green, but still quite crunchy. Next, make some mashed potatoes. Real ones. No cheating. We like Yukon Gold potatoes for this. When you boil them, throw in a bunch of cloves of garlic, so when you mash them the garlic gets mashed in too. Then while you're mashing be sure to add lots of butter and cheese, some salt and pepper, and if you have any pesto or basil, throw that in too, along with a blop or two of sour cream. Now spread that in a big 9x13 baking pan, and plant the little broccoli trees all over the top of the potatoes. Then grate a bunch more cheese over the top of everything, and bake it for a while until it's nice and hot and melty. It's also good with a sprinkle of sunflowers seeds for crunch and protein. For us, it's a meal, but if you're making corned beef too, this will be a helluva lot better than soggy cabbage and carrots along with it!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

gravity still works

I'm happy to report that we did several tests yesterday, and yes indeed, gravity is still fully functional here in the southwest.

I spent the day in the studio, but didn't much feel like making beads. So I started pulling out all my toys and making earrings. I made a big mess, and I also made some very cool earrings. After our lovely calm morning, the beasty-wind had kicked up again, so I didn't want to go outside and play anymore. Instead, I declared it a Party Day, and sent Rick to Sonic for orange cream slushes and tater tots. These are not part of our normal diet, but they were just the thing for yesterday. Lauren and Rick and Heidi and Daisy-the-cat joined me in the studio and we all had a really fine time with tots and slushes and earrings until Daisy decided to slink down most ungracefully from the top of the desk, and spilled two big bowls of Swarovski crystals all over the place...

They went everywhere. Rick helped me scoop most of them up, but I'm afraid they will never again be sorted by size or color. Apparently they all wanted to mingle and get to know each other.

Later on we decided to brave the wind and go out to the hot tub. We wore hats and huddled down low in the water. Not ideal, but we do what we can. Eventually it was time to eat again, which always makes us happy. Rick got out to dry off and go to the Guad (Guadalajara Grill is such a mouthful) for those fish tacos we've been talking about for days. Waiting for my turn in the shower, I stayed hunkered down in the rapidly cooling water, wishing really really hard for the wind to die down for just a minute or two so I could get out without freezing. Clearly this wasn't going to happen any time before midnight, so I climbed out, grabbed my towel, slipped into my Crocs, and made a dash across the gravel patio to the front door. But then, somewhere in mid-dash, my foot slipped out of my slidey rubber shoe, and the rest of me seemed to catch the wind and go flying. I'm sure it actually looked more like crashing, since I banged into the door and hit the ground hard, landing on my butt and my left hand, which was holding a glass... made of glass. The glass slammed to the concrete still in my hand, but miraculously didn't break. I got up, feeling most fortunate to only be embarrassed rather than badly damaged, and went inside to tell Rick, "I fell down..." It wasn't until I got out of the shower that I noticed the big scrape on my shin and the blood dripping down my left arm. I guess I hit a couple of places before I came in for the final landing.

Like I said, gravity is working quite well here. I'm glad to know that, just in case I need it for something. At least I know I won't go flinging off into space. That's a comfort. But the thing I find most interesting about this little fall-down is this: Seven years ago, after living here for two months, I had my first wind-related fall. Now here it is, seven years later, and just about two months from the date we hope to move, and I did it again. This time, thankfully, I wasn't hurt too badly, and it was my left side that got banged up instead of the right. It looks to me like a bookend sort of accident, one to mirror the first one and neatly close in my time here in Taos. It's that Mountain. They say it tests us and sends us messages. I think maybe now it's saying, "Get outta here already!"

Saturday, March 15, 2008


I guess if there's a calm before a storm, there's also a storm before a calm...
Today is soft and blue and friendly. I might even go outside. Saturday is a work day for me, but Lauren and Heidi are home, and I feel like goofing off. No telling where that will take me...

And Happy Birthday to my friend Olivia!
May your day be filled with cake and sunshine and love!
(that goes for the rest of you too)

Friday, March 14, 2008

thar she blows

The news predicted it, but I tried not to believe it... This morning the wind is blowing so hard I'm hiding in the office, all huddled up, far away from any windows. I don't like wind, ever since it knocked me down and broke me a few years ago. That had to be some strong wind to topple a goddess of my own personal proportions. Now I have a general distrust for wind of any sort. I don't even like fans blowing directly on me. Rick finds this very disturbing, since he's a big fan of fans. He likes to move the warm air around the house in winter, but I put the big oh-no-you-don't on that one. Chilly corners are fine with me thanks.

I'm hearing rumors of Springtime in other parts of the world. Some of you are even sending me pictures, which I like very much. Our own little buds are doing their best to pop through, but I think if they're smart, they'll wait till after Wind Season, which is apparently only just starting today. Watch out for the big trees. I know there are some dead branches up there.

Good thing we have Katy George to deliver flowers once a week. Katy Herself is in Paris right now, but her stand-in, Janay, is doing a fabulous job. Every Thursday she pulls up to the house with a car-load of fresh flowers. There's not a lot of spare cash around these days - don't we all feel that crunch - but since I don't have to drive to work, I figure $14 a week plus tip is cheaper than gas will ever be again, and I get fragrance instead of fumes. Sweet deal. My friend Sally-in-Seattle once showed me how to arrange flowers, starting with the small filler stuff, and then one by one plugging in the bigger blooms. I think of her every week when I do this. I also imagine myself to be a very Zen sort of Japanese Ikebana Designer, like in Lost in Translation. My arrangements are anything but serene and minimal, but still, I enjoy going into the zone for a few minutes on Thursday afternoons.

Spring will get here eventually. Until then, hooray for the flowers that meet me at the front door.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

spring break

Lauren and Heidi (our favorite wiener dog) are coming home for Spring Break today. Or tomorrow. I'm not sure yet. But I'm glad they're coming. Lauren, on the other hand, is not so thrilled. It seems most of her friends are going on fabulous vacations to warm and sunny climates, while she's coming home to possible snow storms and a week of work. Poor baby.

OK... I feel a teensy bit sorry for her. It's hard when everyone around you has what you feel you deserve. But then again, my own practical mind asks, why in the world does a college kid deserve a week in Hawaii? I can't imagine. Yes, school is a lot of work. Yes, they're tired of classes and need a break. But, helloooooo, I could use a little beach time too, and unless I come up with a way of paying for it, I don't deserve it one little bit.

My last real vacation was about ten years ago. I didn't "deserve" it then either because it took five years to pay off the credit card we used to get us there. We as a culture have been led to believe that we can and should have things we can't actually pay for. I'm horrified that I must have taught my kids that. All I can do now is set a better example. So there will be no pity for my poor little girl who has to pay her own way in this world. And who says we can't celebrate and have a Spring Break of our own right here? Tonight we're going all out. We're ordering fish tacos from the Guadalajara Grill. I think there's plenty of Pacifico and limes in the fridge. If we squint our eyes just right, I'll bet we can believe we're in Mexico. And we can pay cash.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

i'm ok

I think I'm OK now. My friend Karena equates tough times with surfing. Sometimes you just have to do your best to stay on the board. Even though I've never been a surfer, it makes sense to me.

(A brief digression... I used to go to Santa Cruz a lot as a teenager. My favorite part of surfing was when the Surfer Boys would change out of their wet suits in the parking lot. Mmmhmmm.....)

Anyway, I seem to have kept my balance these last few days, and am safely wiggling my toes in the warm sand at the moment. Brief periods of panic are to be expected when making Big Life Changes. That's no reason to back out. Sure, we could change our minds and stay here. All options are open. But the truth is, it's been a wonderful time here in Taos, and now it's time to go. So I'll do my best to keep my fists unclenched and hands wide open. All the better when it comes to giving and receiving. Can't let go when we grip too tight, and can't accept anything new with closed hands either... or closed minds for that matter.

And here's a question for you Bead People. I'm working on some beads with words in them, and I want to know some of your favorite words. Single words, not phrases. And nothing too long. These are beads, not books. Leave your suggestions here in the comments please. I'll start a list of the ones that resonate with me. They don't even have to be in English. The ones here are still on their mandrels, still in progress. One says HOPE, one says NOW, and the red one says MOM, but I'm showing the back because I love the little silver ribbon curls. The words don't photograph well, but they look great in your open hand. And of course I'll try harder with the photos ponce I have the beads finished.
Gracias for your help!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

more of our house

Our MLS Listing is up! Click on the Virtual Tour link for a really nice look around, complete with music. It makes me want to buy my own house!

Monday, March 10, 2008

but really...

I'm sitting here this morning wondering whether I want to talk about something light and happy, like "The daffodils are starting to poke out from their winter hideout", or "What the hey! How can it be Daylight Saving Time again already?", or if I want to be real...

I often feel that reality is overrated. Don't we have enough of that in our day to day deal? I think it's OK to avoid it sometimes. I hate reality shows. Never watch them. But I do expect my friends to be real with me, and not to gloss over our conversations with pretty shiny things. That's what we have beads for. I recommend liberal use of them when reality gets too real.

So you guessed it. I'm going to spend a lot of time with beads today, and I'm going to be real with you. Sure, the daffys are actually starting to come out, and spring is so close I can sniff it on the morning air. And changing the time on my clocks twice a year irritates me enough to move to Arizona, where they don't play along with that. But really, the reality behind all that is I'm moving to Oregon. And suddenly that's bringing up all kinds of things I hadn't expected.

This move is on purpose. We mean to do this. We want to do it. We feel drawn to do it. And still, with our hoped-for moving date of June first less than three months away now, I'm finding that I feel different about Taos than I did before. While I know it's not where I want to spend the rest of my life, there have been some good, true friends here, and some damn good times here. I'm now thinking more of the things I like about it than the things I don't like. It would be easier if I could focus on the negative, but I just can't.

I did not expect to wake up crying in the middle of the night, wondering what the hell we're doing this for. I didn't expect to drive through town and drink in the views of the mountains and mesa as if I'd never seen them before. I didn't expect to feel this tugging in my heart when friends are already giving me "that look" that says they feel some of it too. And when we started to make a list of all the people we want to invite for one last party at our house in a couple of months, I really didn't expect to have over sixty names on that list. I had no idea...

I keep hearing a song in my head. Jackson Browne's "Opening Farewell". It's a sad and beautiful break-up song. And even though we are not breaking up with Taos or our friends, the farewells have already started. I'm surprised to find that I'm feeling sad, but there it is. I'm feeling sad. And in the middle of all that, I'm feeling a hopeful sort of kinship with those daffodils outside my door, as we both stick our heads out of the hard brown earth of Taos, and open into the warmth of spring and a new beginning.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

natalie goldberg

Natalie Goldberg has been a hero of mine for years. I got my copy of Writing Down The Bones in around 1995, and felt such joy and relief to have this permission to write... even to write badly. Bones set me free in a way only the best teachers can do. And so, when I heard that Natalie was going to be here in Taos for a reading/book signing, I got sort of giddy and talked Rick into going along with me. I even called to find out about the workshop she'll be doing here in April. It would be a dream come true, after all these years, to actually be in one of her classes, absorbing all her amazing Natalie-ness.

Maybe I should say here, that all the activity and change and letting-go that's involved in our move to Oregon has dimmed my aura somewhat in the last few days. I was feeling particularly vulnerable last night as we settled into our seats at the Mabel Dodge House. I needed something to boost my energy frequency, and I figured Natalie could do that for sure. Rick bought me a copy of her new book, Old Friend From Far Away, and I immediately opened it to read the introduction. Absorbed in the writing from word one, I glanced up as someone stood hovering over me, talking over my head to someone else down the row of seats. It was Natalie Herself, standing inches away from me while I sat reading her brand new book. I froze. I had no words. And I think I also became invisible. A few minutes later she was on the small stage, with a hundred or so admirers all beaming at her from the audience. And as she talked, I began to feel... well, uneasy...

I know she lived in Taos for a time. In fact, her tales of Taos played at least some part in our decision to move here. She made it sound so great, and she was right. Taos was just right for us... for a while. But the longer I sat there, already "finished" with Taos, I also began to feel some kind of disappointment in my hero... I'd expected a warm and friendly Natalie, one who would tell us all we could do it, we could write too. Instead I sensed some pokie edges, some impatience, and even a dash of arrogance. She beamed back at old friends in the room, but otherwise seemed to be so used to adoring crowds that she kind of expected it. And I don't remember her thanking us for being there... I found myself totally intimidated by her, and when she asked the group how many of us were writers, I didn't raise my hand. Next she asked how many of us were not writers. Again I didn't raise my hand. In the space of thirty minutes, I'd forgotten why I was there.

Of course this is all my own perception. I might be totally wrong. I hope I'm wrong. She did say that she was just finishing a three week book tour, which I'm sure is quite exhausting. Maybe she was just tired. Maybe I was just tired. When it came time for books to be signed, I got in line and was told by a helper-person to have my book opened to the title page when I got to the front. When it was my turn to step up, I was a nervous wreck. My knees had turned to pudding, and all I could do was shyly ask if she minded also signing my tattered old copy of Writing Down The Bones. Maybe I imagined it, but she seemed a bit annoyed. There she was, perched on the edge of the stage in her stocking feet, absolutely silent. Not a peep. Just a couple of quick signatures and I was dismissed. I didn't say any of the things I wanted to say to her. I wanted to thank her for her books, for her encouragement, for telling me about Taos before I ever even considered visiting here. I wanted to tell her she had been important in my life. But the distance felt as wide as our own Rio Grande Gorge, and I knew I couldn't get the words all that way across. So I just mumbled "thank you" and bolted for the door.

Rick, the Wise and Wonderful, drove us straight to the Anaconda Bar for Dexter's most excellent Dirty Martinis. I sat there feeling like a total idiot, silly and rattled, and we processed our impressions of the evening. After an emotional and difficult day, I was crushed to find myself so disappointed in one of my biggest heroes. And then, as I sipped my second martini, I began to see that Natalie had actually been up there teaching in the best way possible. By being so impersonal, she showed me that what I needed wasn't going to come from another person. Not her or anyone else. What I needed was already inside me, and it was up to me to dig around and find it. It's not her job to tell me I can or should do anything. It's not her job to care if I write or don't write, or if I totally suck at it or write a best seller. None of that stuff is hers. It's mine. All mine.

I'm not going to take her workshop. I don't need the Divine Presence of anyone to guide me through whatever it is I'm doing here. Nothing any of us really needs is "out there" anyway. Like Dorothy said, "There's no place like home." And "home" is not the house we live in. It's the place inside of ourselves where we can sit and relax and know who we are. It's the place where "I'm home" means "I am home".

Thank you Natalie Goldberg.
I meant to raise my hand in the first group.

Friday, March 07, 2008

our house

Well here we go. We put our house on the market yesterday. Yes, it's a little scary, but in a good way, like clickity-clicking to the top of the roller coaster, enjoying the wide open view, and then holding on tight for the ride of your life. If you're just catching up to me here, I'll back up a little bit and tell you we're moving to southern Oregon, the Ashland area, in the early part of summer. Taos has been great, but we're finished here, and it's time to move on. You want more than that, it's all in past blog entries.

So the realtors will be doing their job, and I thought I'd help them out here by showing you this wonderful place we've called Home for the last seven years. Maybe you want to move to Taos, or know someone who does. Or maybe you'd just like a look at where I live and work. Well, my friends, come on in and I'll show your around...

The house sits on almost an acre (.96, I think). As you pull into the driveway, you see the red doors to my studio, a large open area to the right, and the big old elm trees to the left, where we park our cars. There's Jerry in the driveway. He's the Meowing Welcoming Committee. A terrific little mouser, and very affectionate. He's looking for a new home, or can stay with this one, but we can't take him with us. Anybody want a nice, lovey kitty?

Rather than go in through the studio, I'm steering you to the left here, past the cars and in through the gate to the front door, which is really in the back yard. The studio is actually the back door, but at the front of the property... go figure!

Here's the patio, tiny guest casita (it would also make a great kid's playhouse or grown-up study), the goat yard with it's cute shelter, the hot tub, and the river rock labyrinth, which is covered with snow at the moment. Rick and our friend Standing Deer, from Taos Pueblo, built the patio walls from beautiful mud adobe blocks. The fireplace is a favorite spot to spend cool high desert summer evenings, and the horno (oven) was built to cook pizza in!

It's cold out here, so let's go inside. I'll show you some nice warm outdoor summer pictures later.

Here's Rick in the kitchen. He's really done miracles with this house. It was a funky, weird place when we bought it. I didn't even want it, but Rick saw through to it's beauty and warmth, and spent a lot of time bringing it out.

As you can see, we pulled out all the stops when it came to color. Coming here from Seattle, we needed a strong antidote to all the endless gray. We found it here in the big blue sky and in our own bright rooms. The counter tops in the kitchen are wonderful handmade tiles by our friend Jill Rounds.

And see what a nice job he did on the new floor? Remember the old one? It's in a past blog someplace. It was hideous. This is beautiful.

Now spin around and I'll take you out of the kitchen and through the rest of the house.

The hall goes to one bathroom, our bedroom, and the office. We'll see those in a minute.

Turn to the left and you're in the dining room. The big archway was originally the outside wall of the house, so I guess this little room served as the living room. It has a nice little kiva fireplace and flagstone floor. The big windows in the kitchen and dining room are set into rounded walls, so the whole are has a nice nest-like feel. This is my favorite room. This part of the house is real adobe. you can see the thickness of the mud walls in the archway to the living room.

This part of the house was added on by some past owner. It blends well with the rest of the house even though it's "frame" that only looks like adobe.

All the ceilings in the house have these beautiful vigas, which actually support the roof. This window side of the house faces south, and provides wonderful passive solar heat. We rarely need to heat the house during the day in the winter. Unless it's stormy out, we're warm and toasty until the sun goes down, and then we light the woodstove. There's also electric baseboard heat in all the rooms, but we never use it.

Now we go through this smaller archway to Lauren's room and the little bath/laundry room.

Lauren loves anything "Tiffany's", so we took a catalog to the paint store and had them match the color of the famous blue gift box. It's really pretty.

This tiny bathroom is the color of pumpkin pie. It has a toilet, shower, stacked washer/drier, and the cutest little sink you ever saw. Another door leads through here to the studio, but first...

...let's go through the office, which has another kiva fireplace, skylights, and plenty of room for the "brains" of my business (the computer), as well as Rick's desk and the Shipping Department.

And then we have our bedroom. It's the calmest room in the house, cozy, and relaxing. The window looks out to the front of the house and the little latilla roofed porch.

Fortunately, neither of us cares much about having a lot of clothes, or we wouldn't be able to share this closet.

Right next to the bedroom is the very pink bathroom. It's like being inside a watermelon. It has nice tile in the shower, a window that opens to the porch, and a lovely new tile floor.

And now we'll go back through the office and the little bathroom, to the studio. I have half of it, and Rick uses the other half for his tools and "shop" space. This is all heated with another woodstove. Once we take the chill off, the torch and kiln keep it pretty toasty out here. The big French doors give me a wonderful view of the world while I work.

And that's it. Not a huge house, but it's been just right for us. I know there's someone out there who will love it just as much as we have. And now, a few more pictures I took in the summer. It's a different world when the snow is gone and the trees are green. Both are lovely. It's good to have the change of seasons!

The house will show up in the MLS listings on Monday. The asking price is $354,700. If I find a buyer myself, we save a smidge off the commission. If you're interested, drop me a note and I'll hook you up with our agent. She's really nice. I'm counting on a pleasant, speedy deal for all concerned. Hope you enjoyed the tour!

I guess I should mention the general location of the house. It's at the south end of town, in the area called Ranchos by some, and Talpa by others. It depends on if you ask the post office or the phone company! It's near the famous St. Francis Church, which has been painted and photographed by everyone from Ansel Adams to Georgia O'Keefe to me!

We're also close to the more expensive "Weimer" neighborhood, the hospital, and Ranchos Elementary School. From this end of town it's a much shorter drive to UNM Taos, the golf course, and Santa Fe and Albuquerque. The north end of town is lovely too, and closer to the mountains, but less convenient if you go to any of these south-of-Taos places often. The drive from north to south can take over 30 minutes.

Any other questions, please ask! I'll do my best to fill you in.